Upstairs in the unforgiving
World, the World must earn a living,
Struggling ‘gainst the time and tide,
‘Til sun sets on that World Outside
And softly sweet the night is falling,
But the blogger’s lonely calling,
Keeps him to his basement tied
- The Blogger’s Lament by Brit.
It’s confirmed - you don’t blog for money. It’s your “lonely” calling that keeps you hooked to your monitor’s ghostly glow; you are taking pictures of your doodles and making makeup tutorials, going places, keeping a check on entertainment news, reading awesome books and writing great poetry because this is what you have always wanted to do. With every passing minute, the blogosphere is expanding; people are just passionate about sharing their experiences and knowledge with others. To celebrate blogging and appreciate bloggers for staying true to their calling, we decided to talk to some amazing bloggers. They tell us what inspired them to start a blog; what blogging means to them and how rewarding it is to share with the world what you truly love. And, there are pieces of advice for bloggers who are about to step into this magical world.
Men’s fashion | Poetry | Creative writing | Music | Art
It was the movie The Perfect Man that introduced me to the idea of blogging; the protagonist, Holly Hamilton, is shown blogging about her life. Later, Tevi Gevinson, a blogger and a media mogul, became my inspiration; the motivation was to extend my life into the digital world and make something of myself.
I see blogging as a way of discovering new things and perspectives on life, and of course learning something new about myself everyday.
There is lot of research and planning that actually goes into a single blog post; you have to keep pushing without letting failures hold you back.
Think about what you like, who you are as a person and where you want to go in life. Then decide what kind of content you will publish on your blog. One thing I want to emphasize on is social media posts do not make you a blogger; have a proper blog, and invest your time in designing it. I have been blogging for seven years now and I know how much dedication and patience goes into it.
One thing young writers can do is start a blog, and use social media to publicize that blog and take it a step further. My favorite is Instagram as it gives me a chance to interact with my followers and give them a visual representation of who I am as a person. Tumblr is another one of those platforms for really good writers who want to show their work to the world. Use visuals, themes and widgets to create a unique blog and stand out. Be yourself and don’t ever try to please others when it comes to your blog posts. Just write from the heart and things will fall into place.
An important aspect of blogging nowadays is turning the blog into a business. It is very common for one to hear of earning money through a blog. Yes, it happens but my advice to people who want to monetize the blog is to study the niche they are a part of and have strong blog content that can back them up when various marketing campaigns come your way. In the end, content is king, and if you don’t have that, you have nothing to show yourself as a credible blogger.
One important thing for students: your studies should be your priority. Blogging is not a viable career option. And in this ever-changing world, your education will be your savior in the end!
My Instagram is about the experiences and feelings I have as I navigate my 20s.
Drawing and posting every day on Instagram is like journaling. I love when my drawings are acknowledged through likes and shares, but I especially love when my followers comment on my drawings saying “I really needed this today” or “This is exactly how it feels!” One of my biggest goals is to create relatable content for others to enjoy.
In the months leading up to the New Year (2017), I was feeling like I was missing a creative, meaningful component in my life. I had been speaking with friends about a book Dr. Meg Jay wrote called “The Defining Decade”. It’s about how your 20s are a time when huge, life-defining moments are bound to happen: careers are established, love affairs potentially come and go (or stay!), financial decisions must be made, etc. When I thought about this concept, I realized I didn’t feel like I was doing anything “life-defining”. So, I began 2017 with the clichŽ resolution of journaling every day in hope of discovering something about myself.
A few weeks into keeping a journal and a few months after following Instagram artists like @bymariandrew and @scribblesbynicole, I came to the realization that I could channel my journal initiative into drawing. I knew I wanted to make others (and myself!) reflect and laugh about life. So, that’s how I came up with @decade2doodles, where I turn my defining decade into doodles.
My advice would be to make genuine connections as you go. Nicole of @scribblesbynicole shared that piece of advice with me when I first started, and I have found it to be incredibly true. It never hurts to send a nice, genuine message someone’s way. I’ve collaborated with and befriended so many artists this way, and it’s been one of my favourite parts of the whole experience!
Travel photography | Culture
The reason why I started Travel Beautiful Pakistan on Instagram two years ago was to create a media platform where people could experience Pakistan in all its details through photos and stories shared by travelers. It’s a counter narrative to all the negativity Pakistan gets. The news of terror and pain are also a truth but it’s not everything that’s here.
I was sure about my success the moment I started this blog because nobody in the past had come up with a similar initiative. In these two years, I have been overwhelmed by the response of Pakistanis and foreigners. Pakistanis say these pictures made them realize how beautiful our country is, and many foreigners who visited Pakistan told me it’s because of my blog that they decided to come here.
The user has to use the hashtag #TravelBeautifulPakistan with their photos and videos to get them featured. I go through all the photos and select the ones that are the most unique in their own way. Remember that quality is one of the most important features of a photo story so it can make a user stop scrolling down for a while. The other equally important feature is the caption. I think it is as powerful as the photo in describing a particular story. The caption should be written in such a way that users can relate to it. It should be engaging; and, it’s necessary to include “a call to action” line so that people can take part in the story. That is why I ask users to give a caption to a particular photo or tag their friends. Activity is important to get noticed on social media.
My advice to new bloggers is name your blog wisely; not just unique, it should also work for a wider audience. For example, @travelbeautifulpakistan deals with everything related to Pakistan.
From book reviews to authors’ interviews, my blog posts revolve around my reading and understanding of books.
There aren’t many Pakistanis who are serious book bloggers. As I have always been an avid reader, I thought why not share my love of reading with other book enthusiasts and help them find a book that they can love and treasure for times to come.
Blogging brings me great joy.
It’s always a delight when I come across comments that praise my efforts and all the appreciation I get for my hard work fuels me to do even better. I’ve been able to meet so many like-minded individuals from all over the world and it’s always interesting to hear their perspectives and learn about their culture and experiences. Regardless of our differences, we’re able to connect with others through our love for reading.
Something people tend to overlook is that blogging requires a lot of hard work, patience and dedication. Recognition and success don’t come overnight; you’ll have to spend ages perfecting your blog and even then it’ll take time for people to notice it. Patience is the key!
Most importantly, do what you love. Don’t try to copy what’s “ in” or “ popular”; you’ll be one of the many people doing the same thing.
Fashion | Beauty | Food
Blogging to me has always been an escape from real life. Even when I had academic deadlines looming, the only way to restore focus for me was to first do what I found to be stress-relieving, and blogging considerably helped me with that.
It fills my heart with joy when people appreciate my work. It has also enabled me to connect better with the people in my real life, too.
Honestly, before dabbling into the world of blogging, I had never consciously read a blog. I just had a passion for writing and that motivated me to start my own blog. I learned a lot on my own initially, there was a lot of trial and error involved, but positive feedback encouraged me to continue.
I think the most important thing when it comes to blogging is to stay true to yourself, trust your instincts and do not just jump into what everyone else is doing. I mean, in Pakistan, we have seen a trend of spamming social media with the same substandard PR posts, but if you really want to tap into the international market, you need to change your ways, come up with original content and be honest to your readers.
It’s important for the blog to have a catchy name that also reflects your niche. It would show up a lot better in the searches. I did not do that because no one was there to guide me, but since I do consider it my online diary, I stuck to “Jasmine Catches Butterflies” believing that it’s poetic and meaningful.
If you want to improve your content, you need to give yourself significant exposure, and by that, I mean read popular blogs and see what makes them stand out. Practice good Search Engine Optimization (SEO); use relevant keywords in your post title and the first few lines. Also, do make sure that you caption the photographs and add ALT text (the alt text appears in a blank box that would normally contain the image) in properties. And, using multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could help you share your material with a wider audience. And yes, don’t forget Pinterest if your blog contains pictures. A lot of people do not realize the power of Pinterest which is also a search engine for pictures; this way, I get so many extra views on my blogs!
Monetizing blogs in Pakistan is a bit of a challenge because the idea of advertising on blogs is relatively new to most local marketers. Google Ads do not pay that well and for individual international advertisers, not having PayPal is a concern. So, I personally prefer affiliate programs that have the option of wire transfer.